In The Tutor, an in-demand tutor for the East Coast monied elite, Ethan (Garrett Hedlund) lands a high-paying assignment to instruct a billionaire’s son, Jackson (Noah Schnapp), at a remote New York waterfront estate. Almost immediately, Ethan realizes that his student’s interest in his life borders upon obsession.
As tension grows, Jackson’s accusations threaten to expose Ethan’s perceived dark secrets to his girlfriend (Victoria Justice) and the authorities. As sentiment turns against Ethan, it is up to him, and only him, to unearth Jackson’s accusations and prove his innocence.
The movie is every bit as tense as it sounds, and Hedlund and Schnapp will keep you on the edge of your seats when they go head-to-head this Friday.
Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with the two leads to discuss what it was like squaring off in their new thriller. We also hear from Hedlund about the work he put into inhabiting this character, while Schnapp reveals what it was like to take on a very different sort of role from that of Will Byers in Stranger Things.
Hedlund also comments on TRON 3 starring Jared Leto before both wrap up by reflecting on their experience working alongside rising star and Nickelodeon icon Victoria Justice.
Check out our full conversation with the duo in the player below.
This is a real edge-of-your-seat movie, but what was it like for you both to work together while there’s that crazy level of tension and antagonism between Ethan and Jackson?
Garrett: In this film, going on this tit-for-tat exploration was everything it was really about. Noah is such a tremendous actor in this role of Jackson and it gave him so much to play with. That was exciting for me to watch. One minute, he was a kind, sweet, gentle human being, and the next, he’s manipulative or erupting. It left us all on the edge of our seats.
Noah: Yeah, totally. The on-screen dynamic was a little different to our off-screen dynamic and we had a lot of fun off set. We had this App called PhotoCircle where we would all share photos and comment on them. It was a fun time just taking pictures and making jokes. Then, obviously on-screen, it was very serious and Garrett did an amazing job as well.
Physically and emotionally, this felt like a really transformative role for you, Garrett, so what did your preparation look like, particularly as Ethan becomes increasingly desperate with his situation?
Garrett: Well, our director really prepped us throughout and I didn’t really want it to be somebody you’ve seen before or your everyday tutor going in on this mission and teaching the upper echelon of students this and that…I didn’t want him to feel glossy or glitzy. I wanted to really make an impact with him as this is a dramatic piece and he’s a character you’re rooting for. You want to root for all these characters regardless of their secrets or their pasts which eventually collide in a tremendous way that, hopefully, gives audiences something they’ve never experienced before. Mine was about making it something new and something I really enjoyed, first and foremost, was making it a dramatic psychological thriller that I’d want to watch. That was the goal.
Noah, many of your fans will obviously know you best for Stranger Things, but Jackson is a much darker role - what excited you most about showing a different side of yourself and perhaps subverting some of those audience expectations?
Noah: For sure. Everyone obviously knows me for Will from Stranger Things and I love that role. He is near and dear to my heart, but it’s a very different character as he’s very timid and kind and soft-spoken. This character…oh my God, where do we even start with Jackson? He has so many layers and every 15 minutes in the movie, you don’t know what his intentions are going to be. Is he good, is he bad, does he want to kill Ethan, is he obsessed with Ethan? What is going on?! I think having all that race through this character’s mind and getting to play that taught me a lot.
Talking of big franchises, Garrett, I need to ask - do you think we’ll see you alongside Jared Leto in TRON 3?
Garrett: Oh goodness, you know…you never know what the future holds.
Back to this film, you both work with Victoria Justice, who I think is really establishing herself as a special talent, but what did you both enjoy about collaborating with her given the very different dynamic with Annie?
Garrett: She’s a phenomenal actress who has been doing this for a great deal of her life. Both her and Noah…I can sit back and learn from these guys. They’ve been doing it longer than I have or so it seems! A lot of her scenes were fantastic as we really got to improvise through them, especially through the scenes at the beginning when we have this blossoming relationship as a young couple with a child on the way. It just became very organic and allowed us to have these free, spontaneous, flowing scenes that seem just like you were a fly on the wall watching someone you know very well experiencing parenthood for the first time with aspirations to provide.
Noah: For sure. I was a fan of her little watching her on Nickelodeon. I was, like, obsessed with her show. It’s cool to grow up and act alongside her.
Garrett: You really kept that in your pocket throughout the whole shoot. I’ve never heard you say that one time.
Noah: [Laughs] Well, I didn’t want to tell her that!
Vertical's The Tutor is set to be released in theaters on March 24, 2023.